How can Acrobat do such a terrible job exporting tables?

Contributor ,
May 03, 2021 May 03, 2021

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I have a conflict with my T-Mobile bill which I downloaded in PDF format. 

I exported the VERY SIMPLE table that is my bill to EXCEL SPREADSHEET expecting to find things put into cells. I figured it wouldn't look perfect, but at least the content could be manipulated by cell. I was going to reformat most of it anyway, I just needed the data from the form.

 

The output was so bad that I am shocked. I mean it was worse than I could have possibly imagined. a lot of the content was somehow formatted as HTML column text or something and it showed up in one or two cells. No tables, no lines with values. It was all just a big mess. So bad in fact, that it is taking more time to go through the resultant "spreadsheet" to find the data than it would be to start from scratch.

 

How is this not gross negligence? How can Adobe continue to provide this product when it simply doesn't work? The output to excel was not a spreadsheet. If anything it was strangely formatted text shoved into a couple of cells. If you simply cannot look at the PDF and figure out what things are tables and what things aren't, why lie about it and create a fake export engine? It would be a lot better if you just didn't provide any hope of being able to use the content in a pdf than it is to give us false hope and then generate the absolute junk that it did.

 

And keep in mind, the FCC fines T-Mobile if their bill isn't super clean and super easy to read. So it's not like there are crazy in-column obstructions like ads or cutesy pictures..I could understand that being a mess. It's literally the simplest table you can make. 

 

I am irate. I am hoping that there is something on my end that I can resolve this. Because as far as I can tell Acrobat has once again completely failed to do what it claims it will do.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I apologize for my expressed frustration, it is just taking me all day to compensate for this mess.

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Edit and convert PDFs, How to

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Guide ,
May 03, 2021 May 03, 2021

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PDF is an output format and it is meant for sharing and printing, not meant for editing, and it cannot be easily converted to other formats. Converting a html table to PDF and then back to an Excel/Libre Office Calc spreadsheet is always going to be disappointing.

 

The question is why you went through the trouble to create a PDF in the first place: in your browser, select the table. Copy it, and paste in Excel / LibreOffice Calc. Another option is to save your bill page as a html file, and load it directly in Word/Writer, grab the table, and paste it in Excel / Calc.

 

Select the cells to fix the formatting, and presto: done.

 

Creating a PDF as an intermediate step for conversion to an office document is a recipe for extra work. 

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